Brazil's Temer: 'I won't resign' amid corruption allegations

19 May, 2017, 17:39 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • A demonstrator carries a sign that reads in Portuguese

Embattled Brazilian President Michel Temer has said he will fight allegations that he endorsed the paying of hush money to an ex-politician jailed for corruption.

"I will not resign", he said emphatically.

There had been speculation that Temer would use his televised address to resign.

In his statement Thursday, Temer angrily responded to the claim, saying: "I never bought anyone's silence".

It remained unclear whether Temer's defiance will be enough, with cracks growing in the ruling coalition, which is centered on Temer's PMDB party and the PSDB Social Democrats, along with a coalition of smaller parties. Rodrigo Maia, the right-wing chairman of the lower house of Congress and next in the line of succession after Temer, the former vice president, is accused of soliciting campaign donations from the construction firm OAS, a major Petrobras contractor, in return for political favors.

Temer denied the accusations and after much speculation told an audience on Thursday in the capital Brasilia he would not resign. On Thursday, the Supreme Federal Tribunal, the country's highest court, suspended Neves from office indefinitely.

The police operation was part of a massive investigation into corruption known as Operation Car Wash that has implicated scores of politicians and business executives. Globo did not say how it obtained the recording. Remember, he took over past year after his predecessor, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached.

Brazil's securities regulator has launched a probe into currency and stock trades made by executives at meatpacker JBS SA after they made plea bargain testimony that suggested Brazil's president had condoned bribery, Valor Econômico newspaper reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources.

Over the past 12 months, his administration has embarked on an ambitious reform programme that has pleased investors and fuelled a rally in both the currency and stock market.

But Temer did not seem to care about dispelling his image as a distant politician with a distaste for mixing with the public.

Brazil's Petrobras corruption and embezzlement scandal has enveloped the country's political elite - across party lines. The recordings were allegedly made by Joesley Batista, the owner of JBS - Brazil's largest producer and exporter of meat.

Batista told Temer that he was paying money to make sure that Cunha - thought to have encyclopedic knowledge of Brazil's notoriously dirty political world - would keep quiet while serving his jail sentence for taking bribes.

The first man then says: "You have to keep that up, see?"

Brazil's presidential system has no provision for calling elections before the end of the four-year presidential term, so this would require a constitutional amendment, a drawn out process which requires a three-fifths majority in Congress. An impeachment would take months, as happened a year ago with the ouster of Dilma Rousseff.

"This certainly makes approval of the reforms more hard", Senator Valdir Raupp, a close ally to Temer, told Reuters.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working on indigenous rights and environmental conservation in Brazil said removing the agency would leave Brazil's indigenous tribes unprotected from an advancing agricultural frontier.

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